In last week’s article we noticed that God’s grace is the incentive for our following Jesus and doing his will. When we realize that God has forgiven us of our sins; when we consider that all material blessings come from God, and further consider the important spiritual blessings bestowed on us (his love, his forgiveness, his watching over us, his presence in our lives), we should want to serve him with our whole hearts and being every day.
We noticed that one way we do this is by coming together to worship with the church on Sundays. (Hebrews 10:25; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2). We should NEVER consider this a burden, but a blessing. We should come, not only for ourselves, but for our brothers and sisters in Christ, to receive encouragement and to give encouragement to one another. Coming to worship God together is the greatest thing we can do! We should want to be here because God is here.
In Psalms 122:1 David wrote, “I was GLAD when they said to me, ‘Let us go into the house of the Lord.’”
The early church met daily in the temple and from house to house, “praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:46-47).
In Revelation 7:9-15, John pictures a great multitude which no man could number standing before the throne of God and before the Lamb. They are engaged in worship with the angels, the elders and the four living creatures. Notice especially verses 15-17 “Therefore they are before the throne of God and serve (Greek latreuo – which is sometimes translated “worship”) Him day and night in His temple. And he who sits on the throne will dwell among them. They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore, the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
Isn’t it interesting that, after the Hebrew writer stressed the importance of, “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but EXHORTING ONE ANOTHER, and so much the more as you see the day approaching, ” he then emphasizes that, “if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment and fiery indignation who shall devour the adversaries.” The writer emphasizes the reason WHY we come together (to exhort one another) and the fact of judgment if we sin willfully after we receive the knowledge of the truth. . .” He compares it too “trampling underfoot the Son of God, treating the blood of Jesus as a “common thing, and insult the Spirit of grace.” Beloved, would any of us want to be guilty of such?
We must understand that there is more to Christianity than attending worship services. Indeed, some Christians have the attitude that Christianity is what we do on Sundays, but the rest of the week is mine to do as I wish. Yet, when Jesus BOUGHT US by his blood (Acts 20:28), he gets everything. Our life, our souls and our hearts. We owe everything to him! Should we not take time to praise and worship him with the other saints? When we gather together with God’s people, we are encouraged (hopefully) to be faithful in a world that condemns Christians; we encourage others, and we leave with a sense of purpose of why Christ came.
Consider what Thomas missed out on when he missed a Sunday evening assembly in John 20:24-29. He missed seeing Jesus!
Can we honestly say that we are seeking the Lord and his kingdom first when we miss assembling with Jesus and our brothers and sisters in Christ (Matthew 6:33)?
Does my failure to be here cause some other weak Christian to justify themselves not being here?
Is it right for a faithful few to be counted on to do the work of all the members?
When you are absent, who does all of your responsibilities? Who can sing for you, pray for you or partake of the Lord’s Supper for you?
What if the Lord came back on a Sunday morning during worship – would you be ready to meet him? What about Sunday afternoon or Wednesday evening?
Let us understand that some cannot, because of physical sickness or infirmities, be here every service. God understands that – he knows more about us than we do ourselves. When we write an article like this, we always have to introduce this caveat, because someone, somewhere, will justify their failures to worship God and meet with his saints when they have a Sunday morning cold, but will have no problem sitting in bleachers to watch a soccer game, baseball game or a football game on that same Sunday. Let’s realize that we CANNOT and WILL NOT fool God! His judgment is all that matters anyway.
Finally, let us always remember that when we understand God’s grace, we will not want to miss. We will find the time and make time to be with God’s people worshipping God. “We love him because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). How much do you love the Lord? Is he first in your life, or do you allow Satan to distract you from worshipping God who saved you by His Son’s blood?
WHINING AND COMPLAINING
If we could be able to step out of our bodies and listen to all the words we speak each day, we would be amazed as to how often we fuss, whine and complain. That is a means of getting attention for the frustrations of life. Who is there to hear our complaints? Sometimes no one is there (or so we think); we are just letting off our displeasure of what is going on with or around us. Others times we make an effort to go to someone for the purpose of venting our frustrations as words meant to be heard.
Remember that God hears every word we speak and He takes our complaints seriously. This is why Paul, by inspiration, emphasizes that we should, “Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.”
Praise shows our faith, complaining, the lack of it.
Carl Seigenthaler New Hope Church of Christ 10 30, 2019